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Dutasteride: Treating Enlarged Prostate and Hair Loss

What is dutasteride?

Dutasteride is a medication used for the treatment of an enlarged prostate gland, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It’s also used off-label for treating male pattern baldness. In this article, we’ll delve into what dutasteride is, how it works, its applications, and important considerations.

Defining Dutasteride

Dutasteride is an oral medication that falls into the class of 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. It is available under the brand name Avodart and as a generic medication.

Mechanism of Action

Dutasteride works by inhibiting the activity of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase. This enzyme converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone implicated in the growth of the prostate gland and the shrinking of hair follicles in male pattern baldness. By reducing DHT levels, dutasteride helps manage BPH symptoms and promotes hair regrowth in some individuals.

What is dutasteride used for?

  1. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): Dutasteride is primarily prescribed to treat BPH, a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland that can cause urinary symptoms like frequent urination, difficulty starting and stopping urination, and weak urine flow. It helps shrink the prostate gland and improve urinary symptoms.
  2. Male Pattern Baldness: Although not FDA-approved for this purpose, dutasteride is sometimes used off-label to treat male pattern baldness (androgenetic alopecia). It can help slow hair loss and promote hair regrowth in certain individuals.

Considerations and Precautions

  1. Sexual Side Effects: Dutasteride may cause sexual side effects in some individuals, including decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and decreased ejaculatory volume.
  2. Pregnancy and Handling: Dutasteride should not be handled by women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, as it can affect the development of male fetuses. It’s important to avoid contact with the medication or use appropriate precautions.
  3. Medical Consultation: If you are considering dutasteride for BPH or hair loss, consult a healthcare professional. They can assess whether it’s suitable for your individual needs, health profile, and potential interactions with other medications.


Dutasteride is a medication with applications in managing benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) symptoms and potentially promoting hair regrowth in male pattern baldness. Its ability to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to DHT has therapeutic effects in these conditions. However, decisions about using dutasteride should be made after careful consideration of potential benefits, risks, and discussions with a healthcare professional.


What are the two side effects of dutasteride?

Two potential side effects of dutasteride include sexual side effects such as decreased libido and erectile dysfunction, as well as a possible risk of birth defects if the medication is handled by pregnant women.

How long does dutasteride take to work for hair loss?

Dutasteride’s effects on hair regrowth for male pattern baldness can vary among individuals. Some may start to notice improvements in hair density and regrowth after several months of consistent use, while for others, it might take longer. It’s generally recommended to use dutasteride for at least 6 to 12 months before evaluating its effectiveness. Individual responses can differ, so consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance on its use and expected outcomes.

Does dutasteride regrow hair?

Yes, dutasteride has the potential to promote hair regrowth in some individuals with male pattern baldness. It works by inhibiting the hormone DHT, which is associated with hair loss in this condition. However, individual responses can vary, and not everyone will experience significant hair regrowth with dutasteride. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if dutasteride is appropriate for your specific situation and to manage expectations regarding its effects on hair regrowth.

How long does dutasteride stay in your system?

Dutasteride can remain detectable in your system for a prolonged period after discontinuation. It has a half-life of about 5 weeks, which means it takes around 5 weeks for the concentration of the medication in your body to decrease by half. Because of its long half-life, it can take several months for dutasteride to be fully cleared from your system after stopping its use. Individual clearance times can vary based on factors such as metabolism and dosage.

How often to take dutasteride for hair loss?

The typical recommended dosage of dutasteride for hair loss is 0.5 mg taken orally once a day. However, the dosing schedule may vary based on individual circumstances and healthcare provider recommendations. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting or adjusting any medication regimen, including dutasteride, for hair loss.

Is dutasteride better than finasteride?

Dutasteride and finasteride are both medications used to treat male pattern baldness, but dutasteride is generally considered to be more potent than finasteride due to its broader inhibition of DHT. However, dutasteride is not approved by the FDA for hair loss treatment, and both medications have potential side effects. The choice between the two should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional, considering individual factors and preferences.

Do dutasteride side effects go away?

In many cases, the side effects of dutasteride can improve or go away over time as your body adjusts to the medication. However, individual responses can vary. If you experience persistent or severe side effects, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on managing side effects and determine if any adjustments to the medication regimen are necessary.

Is dutasteride a steroid?

No, dutasteride is not a steroid. It is a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor medication used to treat conditions like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male pattern baldness. It works by inhibiting the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone associated with prostate growth and hair loss.

Can you take finasteride and dutasteride together?

Taking finasteride and dutasteride together is not typically recommended due to the potential for increased risk of side effects and lack of established benefits. Both medications work by inhibiting the same enzyme (5-alpha-reductase) and have similar mechanisms of action. Combining them could lead to additive effects and an increased likelihood of experiencing adverse reactions. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional before making any changes to your medication regimen, including combining finasteride and dutasteride.

Does dutasteride cause cancer?

There is no strong evidence to suggest that dutasteride causes cancer. Dutasteride is used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and male pattern baldness. However, as with any medication, it’s important to discuss potential risks and benefits with a healthcare professional before using dutasteride, especially if you have concerns about its effects on your health.

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